The third edition of the El Gouna Film Festival, which took place on Egypt’s Red Sea coast, concluded its nine-day run on Friday with more than 80 films screened in total.
The annual festival was established in 2017 and it aims to provide a platform for Middle-East producers.
At the closing ceremony, "You Will Die At Twenty" from Sudan scooped El Gouna’s Golden Star Award for Best Feature Narrative. Director Amjad Abu Alala took home $50,000 (€45,699) in prize money which he plans to plough back into his homeland's film infrastructure.
The film depicts a Sudanese boy who is faced with a prophecy from a travelling sheik that he will die when he reaches the age of twenty. This sparks his mission to make the most of the short time he has left on Earth. Religious leaders urge him to study the Koran while his father advises him to enjoy himself.
"Exam", by Iranian director Sonia Hadad, took Best Short Film while Best Feature Documentary was claimed by "Talking About Trees" from Sudan.
Also making headlines was the boundary-pushing film "Noura’s Dream", which made its regional debut at the festival.
The gritty, Tunisian film tells the story of a woman seeking a divorce from her imprisoned husband while trying to start a new romance.
Lead actress, Hend Sabry, won Best Actress and she told Euronews how the movie’s edgy dialogue plus its exploration of cultural taboos left cinema-goers with something to think about.
“There were two or three minutes of silence after the film ended, and the claps were a little bit... I don't know... scared, shocked, surprised. Which is actually what cinema should create as a reaction."
Sabry is best known for her role as "Ola" in the Egyptian television drama "I Want to Get Married". The show was broadcast during Ramadan in 2010 where the actress played a character who goes through dozens of prospective fiancés.